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Compare and Contrast 'Atlas' and 'Valentine'

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast "Valentine" and "Atlas" Both "Valentine" and "Atlas" transcend the "red rose or...satin heart", in their exploration of love. They discuss love from different angles, portraying a different opinion of the place that love takes in life. They both use extended metaphors to express their views of love, choosing unexpected objects as the subjects of their metaphors. Duffy uses an onion, which generally implies tears, stinging, and is thought of with negative connotations. This is in contrast to love, because this is regarded as a positive thing, which makes people happy, rather than "blind[ing them] with grief". However, upon consideration, this comparison appears to be appropriate. It offers a realistic view of love, acknowledging the faults and lies in the usual depiction of love. It states the importance of understanding the dangers that come with love, and the long lasting effect it can have upon a person, even after the relationship has broken, as it "clings to [their] fingers". It is evident that Duffy realises the multi-faceted nature of love. As although love "promises light", it can also be "Lethal". ...read more.

Middle

In Fanthorpe's view of love, it is essential to "uphold/ The permanent elaborate/ Structures of living". It is given immense importance by the classical comparison of her "suspect edifice" being kept "upright...As Atlas did the sky". However, this differs from Duffy, who portrays love as a choice, "if you like". Although it is a choice, once made, it is inescapable as it will "cling" to you and "stay on your lips". It is clear that Duffy is aware of the transience of love, as she states "for as long as we are". Therefore, although a relationship can end, the love once felt has an interminable hold. Both poets have a disillusioned view of love, and are "trying to be truthful". However, the truths they are trying to reveal are of very different kinds. "Valentine" exposes that fact that there is much more to love can be first ascertained. There is a hidden, destructive force that comes with the "cute card or a kissogram", which turns you into "a wobbling photo of grief". This is done by the first verse making love seem to be really good[SS3], and then suddenly adding a negative tone in the second stanza. ...read more.

Conclusion

The complete separation of "I am trying to be truthful" adds a feeling of desperation. This differs greatly form "Atlas". Although the start of "Atlas" is split into couplets, there is a feeling of continuity throughout the poem. This is achieved through enjambment, even between different stanzas, "which upholds/ The permanently, ricketty". The enjambment makes the poem seem less jerky and harsh. "Atlas" is written mostly in pairs of lines; however, the addition of "As Atlas did the sky" causes the last section to have an uneven number of lines. This adds impact on that line and on the subject of her metaphor. Both of these poem look below the surface of love, trying to see what is "wrapped in brown paper". However, what they find upon their "undressing of love" differs greatly. After reading "Valentine", the reader is left with a rather cynical, yet realistic view of love, and all the potential dangers it brings. "Atlas", on the other hand, portrays love as an essential part of life, even if it has a "sensible side" which is not so palatable. Therefore, although both these poets are being "truthful", they are exposing two very different truths. [SS1]2nd [SS2]3rd [SS3]uummm ?? ?? ?? ?? 24/01/06 to 15/07/2008 PAGE 1 of 2 SHIVANI SINGHAL ENGLISH COURSEWORK MR. FORBES ...read more.

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